- AstraZeneca (AZ) on Monday sold the rights to Plendil, a blood pressure medication, and Imdur, an angina treatment, to China Medical System Holdings for $500 million.
- This sale was quickly followed by another, with AZ divesting European rights to Moventig for $70 million in a deal with Kyowa Hakko Kirin
- CEO Pascal Soriot is using externalization deals to offset lost revenues from patent expiries.
Plendil and Imdur generated roughly $246 million in revenues in the Chinese market last year. However, in the context of the Chinese market these drugs were considered non-core assets. China Medical bought the China rights to Plendil for $310 million, while acquiring global rights to Imdur for $190 million, according to Reuters.
AZ recently signed off on an Alzheimer's drug partnership to Eli Lilly for $500 million, in addition to a $200 million deal with Daiichi Sankyo, and the sale of brodalumab to Valeant.
The divestment strategy is to fund current operations as it moves towards its target goal of $45 billion in revenues by 2020. AZ's plan appears to be centered on acquiring and developing successful drug candidates over the long term, while cushioning the blow of patent expiries in the immediate future.
AZ acquired ZS Pharma in November 2015 for $2.7 billion, winning the rights to ZS's lead candidate—a potential blockbuster hyperkalemia drug. In December, AZ bought 55% of Acerta for $4 billion in a deal which has shown promise quickly. Just last week, the European Medicines Agency recommended Acerta's cancer drug acalabrutinib receive orphan drug status. Analysts have estimated up to $5 billion a year in revenues for acalabrutinib at its peak.